Nov 6th, 2014 – North Dakota Test Site Joins ICATS


On the picture : (From left to right) Gina Rebelo Bento, Commercial Specialist, US Consulate General in Montreal; Christophe Mazel, CESA Test Site (Bordeaux); Terry Sando, UAS Sector Senior Manager, Grand Forks Region Economic Development (North Dakota); Brian Opp, Manager, Aerospace Business Development, North Dakota Department of Commerce; Marc Moffatt, Director General of the Unmanned Aerial System Centre of Excellence (Alma, Québec)

Montreal, QC, November 6th, 2014 – The International Consortium of Aeronautical Test Sites (ICATS) is proud to welcome the Northern Plains UAS Test Site of North Dakota (U.S.) as a seventh member of the organization.

Announced earlier today at the Unmanned Systems Canada annual conference held in Montreal, this new membership brings a new expertise within this international partnership, which so far included the participation of the UAV test & service centre (CESA) of Bordeaux in France, the Oklahoma State University – University Multispectral Laboratories (OSU-UML) in Oklahoma (U.S.), the National Aeronautical Centre from the United Kingdom, the Unmanned Aerial System Centre of Excellence of Quebec, Canada, as well as the CATUAV Tech Center in Barcelona and the Air Traffic Laboratory for Advanced Systems (ATLAS) in Jaén, both from Spain.

“The mission of North Dakota’s Northern Plains UAS Test Site is to collaborate with FAA and industry partners to develop equipment, systems, rules, and procedures to safely integrate unmanned aircraft into the National Airspace without negatively impacting existing general or commercial aviation. By joining ICATS, we join a community that aims to support the development of national and international regulations, and this is a real honor to be a part of it”, commented the Manager, Aerospace Business Development of North Dakota Department of Commerce, Mr. Brian Opp.

The Secretary of Science and Technology for the State of Oklahoma and Director of International relations for ICATS, Dr. Stephen McKeever adds: “ICATS is exceptionally pleased to welcome one of the six Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) UAS Test Sites.

So far, each partner has been able to gain a solid experience and has been at the forefront of the UAS integration with the support of our respective regulating bodies. ICATS is convinced that North Dakota’s Northern Plains UAS Test Site will contribute to broaden our horizons and expertise to better support the industry”.

About the Northern Plains UAS Test Site of North Dakota
North Dakota is a proven leader in Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) with the experience, resources and leadership to help drive the industry’s growth. The state is one of six Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) UAS Test Sites conducting research to determine how to best integrate UAS into the national airspace. North Dakota’s Northern Plains UAS Test Site represents the first site to have been certified by the FAA as ready for operations in last April 2014.

The International Consortium of Aeronautical Test Sites welcomes a 7th memberAbout the International Consortium of Aeronautical Test Sites

The first international organization of its kind, the consortium support the industry by enabling the development, testing and ultimate certification of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS)/Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) to allow for their use in non-segregated airspace.

This is achieved by sharing of information on operational safety, flight regulations and, when allowed to do so, actual operational experiences. The consortium also encourage the industry to demonstrate and prove sub-system technology that will enable the necessary international standards for future UAS/RPAS construction to be created, and work with their respective regulatory bodies to safely develop UAS/RPAS capabilities while continuing the operational confidence building process.

The test centres support and guide the industry in the development, operations and certification of UAS/RPAS as established by their respective regulating bodies. The centres therefore accompany and funnel the innovation of the private sector while coordinating with government entities. The sharing of information on rules, regulations and actual test results between the test sites consequently minimize the stovepipe approach that might otherwise prevent cross-border operations of unmanned systems. The test centres help continue to bridge the gap between the establishment of regulations and actual operations.



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